UPSC Interview by Akshat (Alka Sirohi Board)
Date: 29th of April
Board: Alka Sirohi Board
Qualification: Civil Engineer with Geography optional
The interview started with the chairperson asking civil engg questions.
AS : What is the difference between ***( I don’t remember the exact word)
roller and vibratory roller?
Me : Sorry mam. I do not know.
What are the different types of cement?
Me : OPC, PPC and White Cement.
What are the characteristics of underwater cement?
Me : It should set rapidly so that it does not get washed away. We add certain
chemicals for that.
What is the difference between consolidation, compaction and compression?
Me : Compaction –removal of air voids, consolidation – removal of water.
What would be the effect of adding more lime to cement?
Me : Cement will absorb more heat. So more water needs to be added to it.
I knew some of my answers were not good and AS was not satisfied with them.
M1 : Who was the first Home Minister of India? What was his contribution?
Me : Sardar Patel. Integration of princely states.
How many princely states were there at time of independence?
Which of them created problems for Patel? How did he handle them?
Me : Junagadh, Hyderabad and J&K. He used the threat of using force in Junagadh
and actually sent the Army in Hyderabad.
Why was Kashmir not willing to join India?
Me : Maharaja Hari Singh wanted to have an independent country.
Under what circumstances did it agree to join India?
Me : When Pakistani tribals/soldiers invaded Kashmir.
What are the three regions of J&K?
Me: Jammu (Hindu), Kashmir(Muslim) and Ladakh ( Buddhist)
What was the UN suggestion on this issue?
Me : Referendum
Why has Referendum not taken place?
Me : Because Pakistan has never removed its forces from PoK.
Why should we not respect people’s feelings and allow a referendum to be
Me: There would be similar demands from North East etc and that would lead to
balkanization of our country.
What are the problems faced by Kashmiris? How can we solve them?
Me : Development, more jobs, more powers to Panchayti raj institututions.
Can Army be withdrawn from there?
Me : Situation not conducive at present ( infiltration, attacks, ceasefire
violations continue) but we can withdraw army if situation improves.
M2 : What is Silent Valley? Where is it located? What is it famous for?
Me: National Park in Kerala famous for its biodiversity.
Which state is known as God’s own Country? Why is it called so?
Me : Kerala bcz of its natural beauty, forests, backwaters etc.
Name some world leaders inspired by Mahatma Gandhi?
Me : Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama.
What about the leader of American Civil Rights movement?
Me: Yes Sir. Martin Luther King as well.
What are the most famous words from Martin Luther King’s Speech?
Me: I Dream. ( He corrected me – I have a dream)
Which is the biggest dam in India? What is its power generation potential?
Me: I am not sure sir but it may be Bhakhra Nangal.
Where is Koyna dam located?
Me : Maharashtra on Koyna river.
M3 : Nuclear energy or hydropower? Which one would you choose and why?
Me : Instead of choosing one, I would recommend a mix of both.
What are the dangers associated with them?
Me : Dams : displacement of people, danger due to earthquakes. Nuclear :
What is the principle behind working of a dam?
Me : Storage => Water flow through a Channel => rotation of Turbine =>
Why do we import turbines instead of manufacturing them?
Me : May be bcz its cheaper to import. Like labour costs in China are low.
M3: No. We import them from Europe.
Me: May be we don’t have the technology. We must go for Technology Transfer
What should be the components of India’s Energy Policy?
Me: Optimum mix of Coal, oil, NG, Shale,wind, solar, tidal, biomass and biofuels.
Can you name an engineer who got Bharat Ratna?
Me: I am not sure but M. Visveswaraiya might have got. We celebrate Engineer’s
Day in his honour.
M4 : What are subsidies? Why are subsidies given?
Subsidies are benefits given to the poor but many times the rich also take
What Subsidies are given in Agriculture sector?
Me : Free power, fertilizers, exemption from taxation.
Should agricultural income be taxed?
Me : Above a threshold income, it can be taxed.
Who gives subsidies? Who will be the worst sufferer if subsidies are not well
Me: Govt. gives subsidies but ultimate sufferers are tax payers cz its their
Give me three points to improve the state of education in India.
Me : CCTV cameras in classes to ensure teachers teach properly, tele-education
to ensure access to quality teachers and setting virtual labs so that students
in Engineering colleges with poor infra don’t suffer.
AS (again): How can we make PDS more efficient?
Bar-coded ration cards, smartcards, GPS in trucks, social audit, citizens
charter kind of thing.
AS : All this is already being done. What else can be done?
Me : We need to ensure that PDS operators engaging in malpractices have a fear
of punishment in their minds.
AS: Have you heard of PACSs? What is their role in PDS?
Primary Agri Credit Coop societies give cheap credit to farmers but I do not
know about their role in PDS.
AS : Why is cooperative ownership of Fair Price Shops better than private
Me: Private ownership – Decision making rests with individual. Coops –
Collective decision making and hence chances of corruption are reduced.
What is Cross subsidization?
Me : When we use profits generated in one section of operations to compensate
for losses in other. For example, Railways cross subsidizes passenger fares with
Why are freight operations of Railways in profit?
Me: Roads – poor quality, traffic jams, costly. Inland waterways : infra not
AS: So you are saying that TINA factor is at work here. You know about TINA
Me: Yes mam. There Is No Alternative.
AS: Ok. Your interview is over. (Fumbled in some answers but overall I am
satisfied with my performance)